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Homemade Pretzels

I haven't made homemade pretzels since we were in Alabama and I had forgotten how easy they are if not a little time consuming. I made these last week for Oscar night. They keep a long time in an airtight container. 1   (.25 ounce) package   active dry yeast 1 tablespoons   brown sugar 1  teaspoons   salt 1 ½   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 3   cups   all-purpose flour 1   cup   bread flour 2   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 2   tablespoons   baking soda 1-2   tablespoons   butter, melted 2   tablespoons  kosher salt Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place the yeast, brown sugar and salt in the 1.5 cups of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in the flour. Knead for about 7-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let it rise for an hour (I place mine in the oven with the light on). Combine the two cups of warm water with the baking soda in a square shallow pan. After the dough has risen, cut it into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each section into a

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - August 2022

Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

Is it the 15th already? Yes it is. Time for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. I haven't had a chance to photograph everything in the garden so I just have a few this month. For more gardens and bloom, check out May Dreams Gardens.

My favorite plant at the moment is the amazing Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus), pictured above and below. I absolutely love this plant and so do the bees. I hate that I don't have the variety name. Another view -

Allium 'Milennium'

'Casa Blanca' Lily

Canna 'Panache'

Four O'Clocks (Mirabilia jalapa)

Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Rugosa Rose 'Purple Pavement'

Rose 'Marie Pavie'

Zooming in, you can see flowers forming on  Clerodendrum trichotomum 
(Harlequin Glorybower) (Peanut Butter Tree)

Rose 'Ballerina'

Rose 'Lady Emma Hamilton'

Rose 'Lady of Shalott'

Fuchsia 'Lady Boothby'

A very unusual fuchsia, Creeping Fuchsia (Fuchsia procumbens)

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. All your Bloom Day selections are fabulous, Phillip. I've begun to despair that my Chaste Tree will ever grow up to look anything like yours. After nearly 5 years in the ground I don't think mine is over a foot tall - it's not dead but I don't think it likes SoCal at all. Ditto with respect to my 'Lady Emma Hamilton' rose but then I'm coming close to giving up all my roses...

  2. The best fragrance comes from the Rugosa Rose 'Purple Pavement', but it's 'Lady Emma Hamilton' that wins by a (color) knock-out! And as impressive as Joe-Pye is, it's Pan's tradescantia pallida throne that totally stole the show for me.

  3. Your Vitex looks great. 'Lady Emma' another highlight. Looks like your garden is standing up to summer, no problem. Hope you have a beautiful rest of summer, and then the colors of autumn to anticipate!

  4. The beautiful mixture of blooming plants makes your garden look so inviting. The Chaste Tree is an amazing accent.


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